Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sprout Sushi

I am practicing for an Asian-themed dinner party coming up in June. As an appetizer, I wanted to serve a recipe I saw in Vegetarian Times for Spicy Broccoli Sprout Sushi. A variety of sprouts could be used but this recipe called for the peppery broccoli sprout.

  • 1 cup sushi rice, rinsed and drained (I found it in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup water
  • Nori sheets
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Baked tofu (I used teriyaki flavored), cut into thin strips
  • Broccoli sprouts (Safeway)
  • Soy sauce and wasabi for dipping
  1. Place rinsed and drained sushi rice in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed.
  2. Remove rice from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice vinegar
  4. Lay a nori sheet on a sushi mat. Have a bowl of water and a towel close by.
  5. Spread rice over the nori sheet. With moistened fingers press the rice down. Cover the sheet with rice but leave about an inch and a half at the top uncovered.
  6. Lay a few slices of avocado, bell pepper, and tofu across the center. Cover with sprouts
  7. Brush edges of nori with water.
  8. Tightly roll nori until just the uncovered top is showing. Moisten with wet fingers and complete roll.
  9. Slice and serve with wasabi and soy sauce.
The results were pretty good but we decided that they were a little bland. I made another roll this time using some pre-cooked salad shrimp. I rinsed the shrimp, added some lime juice, a bit of soy sauce, and a dash of Vietnamese hot sauce. These were better. Now that I know how to do this I can experiment some more with other ingredients.

You can search YouTube for sushi rolling directions.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Rhubarb shows up a few times each year in our CSA box. It usually comes with a box of strawberries which means that a strawberry/rhubarb concoction is the obvious choice.

Rhubarb is originally from Asia and, according to this site, was not until the 18th century that rhubarb was grown for culinary purposes in Britain and America. Rhubarb is often commonly mistaken to be a fruit but rhubarb is actually a close relative of garden sorrel, and is therefore a member of the vegetable family. Rhubarb is rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber.

It evidently grows well across most of the United States and it is most revered in Lanesboro, Minnesota where each June they hold the Annual Rhubarb Festival. The festival web site is a lot of fun. They have the Rhubarb Olympics, rhubarb juggling, largest leaf contest, and a number of the winning rhubarb recipes.

I borrowed a recipe from my fellow FFTY CSAer for this. It's not overly sweet and is great by itself or would go well with high-quality vanilla ice cream.

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (available in the freezer section of your local supermarket)
  • butter to coat the baking dish
  • 2 pints strawberries, tops cut off and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, chopped into 1/2" slices
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Butter a baking dish and place the puff pastry into the dish so that it covers the bottom and sides. Be careful not to rip any holes in the dough.
  • Mix berries, rhubarb, sugar, salt, and flour in a bowl.
  • Pour ingredients on top of the puff pastry, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, so that the temperature of the filling and the dough will be the same. This will make for a more even bake.
  • Place the tart on the center rack and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to stand for a few minutes

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fava Beans

If I believed in reincarnation and had to come back as a lower form of life I would like to be reincarnated as a fava bean. Not only would I live in a thick, insulated, cottony, protective pod but I would be further insulated by living inside a protective womb-like skin within this pod. If you wanted to get to a fava bean it would certainly take a lot of work.

The fava bean lives this very protected life and the result is a very delicate, subtle bean. Therefore, do not think of the usual legume recipes when cooking fava beans.

Since fava beans were new to us, I decided (as usual) to start basic in order to taste the food without a lot of masking spices and seasonings. Which meant that I adapted a recipe from Alice Water's Vegetable cookbook.

My Adaptation of Fava Bean Ragout:
  • 1.5 lb fava beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, shell the fava beans and discard the pod (assume hours for this process--it is tedious).
  2. Plunge the beans into boiling water for about a minute. The outer skins on mature beans will turn white.
  3. Drain and cool immediately with cold water.
  4. To quote Alice: "Pierce the outer skin with thumb and squeeze each bean out of its skin with thumb and forefinger."
  5. Place the beans in a small skillet with equal parts water and olive oil and just cover the beans
  6. Add minced garlic and chopped rosemary
  7. Cook at least 5 minutes (my beans were pretty large so I cooked them and let them sit with the fire off in the skillet until it was time to plate).
  8. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste
  9. Drain in a colander and serve as a side dish

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vegetable Garden: May 2009

The first wave of vegetables are now all in the ground as of this afternoon. The crops include:
  • Arugula - first time growing this.
  • Basil - I have eight plants this year. Call me crazy but we live on pesto. I need to make batches of pesto each week and use it or freeze it. The neighbors are also wanting some.
  • Broccoli - Another first. I thought this was a winter crop but it was available at the nursery. Hopefully, I'm close enough to the coast to get something out of this. We'll see!
  • Celery - same as above
  • Lettuce - red leaf and romaine
  • Parsley - flat leaf
  • Pepper - two jalapeno and two bell peppers
  • Scallions - Another first. Had good luck with yellow onions last year but was not able to separate the scallions into individual plants so I had to plant in the clumps they came in.
  • Tomato - two plants in the back bed from a co-worker. Not sure what type.
  • Zucchini - same as above
The plant on left side of the back bed is the recently hacked-back, aggressive rosemary plant.

Monday, May 4, 2009

McDonald's Promo Video

I found this link online to one of McDonald's promotional videos. Note how cow meat is referred to as "the product." There is also a noticeable gap between the cows in the field and the chunks of meat heading towards the mechanized meat grinders.

Also, why do the final patties need to pass through a metal detector?

A great example of how removed we are from the food chain.